Of all the tropical island destinations in the world, there are few places like the Maldives, its string of picture-perfect islands ringed by pristine palm-fringed beaches and beyond that, crystal-clear turquoise lagoons teeming with an abundance of colourful marine life. Throw in an array of some of the world’s most beautiful hotels and life doesn’t get better than taking a dip in the warm, shallow waters directly from the deck of your overwater villa, or watching one of the epic sunsets turn the sky a pastel shade of candyfloss pink. From blissful spas to fine dining restaurants and unlimited watersports, the choice can be overwhelming (and some pay-as-you-go resorts budget breaking). So, to ease the stress of bills piling up, here’s our pick of some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Maldives to make the most of your trip to paradise.
Diamonds Thudufushi Beach & Water Villas, Alif Dhaal Atoll
Maldivian water villas don’t get more elegant than this – chic and white above the cobalt blue sea. Their expansive terraces have direct access to the ocean, living rooms and four-poster beds that gaze out to sea. A selection also have outdoor hot tubs. Two-bedroom water villas are ideal for larger parties or families with older children, and boast a large pool. The beach villas come with private terraces. Lantern-lit dining on the beach, sushi overlooking the reef and papaya body treatments in the spa are among the standout experiences. Diamonds also has some of the best snorkeling in the archipelago, and there's a large lagoon for watersports.
Read the full review: Diamonds Thudufushi Beach & Water Villas
Varu by Atmosphere, North Male Atoll
Shallow, crystal-clear waters surround this dreamy island hideaway which occupies a private lick of sand in the North Male Atoll. A neat smattering of square bungalows line the beach while clusters of overwater villas protrude from three jetties. It's smart but informal, and everything is taken care of with a genuinely friendly smile. You can join a vast range of activities, from palm leaf origami, towel art masterclasses and wine tasting, to boduberu sessions (local drumming). All non-motorised watersports are included and guests can enjoy unlimited snorkelling excursions. The four restaurants are different in character, from casual to fine dining affairs, and all excellent.
Read the full review: Varu by Atmosphere
Hurawalhi, Lhaviyani Atoll
Hurawalhi wears its natural bounty lightly. There are no airs and graces here. Even before the seaplane touches down, shoes are already being kicked off and will never be seen again for the rest of the vacation. Whether a villa floating over the water or gently nuzzling up against the tree-cloaked beach, the mood is one of ease, almost inertia. However, guests who do want to try a little more than simply lying horizontal will be thrilled by the All Inclusive Plus Package which includes full board alongside a host of diversions such as free-flow beverages at the bars, sunset dolphin cruise, snorkelling and windsurfing lessons, and yoga classes. It's price point versus its design and quality of food and drink makes it one of the best all-inclusive hotels in the Maldives.
Read the full review: Hurawalhi
OZEN Life Madhoo, South Male Atoll
Whilst this is a top option for a luxury Maldives holiday, there’s not an ounce of stuffiness. One island is the springboard to the overwater WIND villas, snaking across the turquoise water, as well as the main restaurant and the spa. Grab a bike from under a palm tree, or hail a golf buggy, and head to island number two where a modern, circular bar has spectacular views across the infinity pool, and serves drinks all day. From here, it's an easy journey if you're staying in an EARTH villa, hidden among the tropical foliage behind. With five restaurants open for dinner and three for lunch, plus the poolside pizzeria, guests are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to dining.
Read the full review: OZEN by Atmosphere
Constance Moofushi, South Ari Atoll
This lively and well-priced barefoot resort is on the tip of the South Ari Atoll, a 45-minute seaplane from Malé. The sugar-white beach is wide enough to accommodate wild, quiet strolls and the Beach Villas have front terraces that lead straight onto it, made private by palms and bushes. Overwater villas are simple thatched bungalows with optimal views of marine life. Days here are designed for loafing, while nights are sociable and stress-free, thanks to an all-inclusive environment where you can forget about whether you really ought to go to the bar or cave into the kids’ demands for ice cream. The entertainment is low-key but enjoyable, with DJs and weekly traditional dancing.
Read the full review: Constance Moofushi
The Residence Maldives Dhigurah, Gaafu Alifu Atoll
The Residence at Dhigurah has a spellbinding edge-of-the-world location, just 40 miles north of the equator in the barely developed Gaafu Alifu Atoll, with horizons that go on forever. It's one of the top options for a Maldives honeymoon, and linked to its older sister island The Residence Falhuumafushi by a wondrous kilometre-long wooden bridge stretching across the atoll (you can spot some epic marine life below). All of the beach villas are spaced well apart, cocooned and with their own patch of cottony white sands. The overwater villas are packed a little tighter together but come with wide decks and ladders leading straight into the Indian Ocean.
Read the full review: The Residence Maldives Dhigurah
Oblu Select at Sangeli, North Male Atoll
The modern, all-inclusive Oblu Select offers mid-market accommodation ideal for a Maldives family holiday or couples looking for escapism. The resort comprises three beaches (one with a spiral water slide into the sea), four restaurants (one buffet and three à la carte) and bars, a family and adults-only infinity pool, fitness centre and Elena spa. From sunrise yoga and pilates sessions to complimentary use of snorkelling gear, stand-up paddle boards, kayaks and pedalos, there's plenty to do. A small selection of snacks are served at 4pm every day by the family pool, where a DJ plays most evenings. Live music is played on Sundays.
Read the full review: Oblu Select at Sangeli
Heritance Aarah, Raa Atoll
Dotted with beautiful wooden bungalows with thatched roofs, Heritance Aarah sticks to the tried and tested ‘Robinson Crusoe’ formula, and it works. It’s smart without being overly fussy and blends perfectly with every tropical island fantasy, with sand-in-your-toes restaurants, open-air bars and and an exceptional spa that has its own 'hangover clinic'. There are 150 rooms – from overwater ocean villas to beach and family villas – spread over the island and split into an array of categories. Some have private pools and beach access and most give you a private 24-hour butler service. Six excellent restaurants, five of which are included in the package, offer a range of culinary experiences.
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Dhigali Maldives, Raa Atoll
With a minimalist, modern vibe, Dhigali has done away with the traditional Maldivian thatched style of architecture and has instead introduced contemporary, box-like villas with flat white roofs and pared-down interiors. All rooms, whether on the beach, the lagoon or the sea, are just a few steps from the Indian Ocean, and include comfortable sun loungers. The facilities are varied and plentiful, with three beachfront infinity pools and an array of watersports and fitness facilities. There are five restaurants and two bars at Dhigali ranging from the relaxed, buffet-style Capers to the romantic Asian offering at Battuta. The most special spot in the resort is the thatched, bird's nest-like bar Haali. Dhigali will become an all-inclusive resort from November.
Read the full review: Dhigali Maldives
Meeru Island Resort & Spa, North Malé Atoll
This laidback four-star is one of the largest all-inclusive Maldives resorts and less bling more barefoot for those who want the castaway vibe. Its generous all-inclusive package sets the resort apart, allowing families and adults to enjoy talcum white beaches, Tiffany blue waters, a plethora of activities and a lively after-dark scene on a budget. Guests can avail of the all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner at either Farivalhu (for families) or Maalan (adults only), as well as soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages 24/7 and light bites at Dhoni Bar, Hot Rock Bar and Uthuru Bar (over 18s). Of the 286 rooms, the Garden rooms are the most basic (and affordable).
Read the full review: Meeru Island Resort & Spa
Contributions by Deborah Cicurel, Lee Cobaj, Lauren Ho, Jenny Johnson, Charlotte Johnstone, Belinda Maude, Adrian Neville, Natalie Paris, Chloe Sachdev and Tina Walsh
Rates above are guide prices per person per night; please note that all-inclusive packages can differ across hotels. Check the hotel's websites for further information on what's included.